Copper heads for sixth weekly gain as supply fears grow

Copper heads for sixth weekly gain as supply fears grow

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Copper prices extended gains on Friday, putting them on course to post their sixth consecutive weekly rise as concerns mounted about supply disruptions in producing countries hit by a surge in coronavirus cases.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange climbed 0.8% to $5,942 a tonne by 0700 GMT, after rising 0.5% in the previous session.

Chile’s Codelco, the world’s biggest copper miner, said on Thursday it was suspending refinery and foundry operations at its Chuquicamata division to prevent further spread of the new coronavirus.

The development suggests Chile’s copper production losses could be greater than the government’s estimate of 200,000 tonnes, equivalent to 3.5% of total output, analysts at ANZ said in a note.

In Peru, they said the pandemic-related capacity closures have affected about 2 million tonnes of copper supply.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW

“For copper, the risk from even a small disruption is high because Chile produces 40% of world supply,” ANZ analysts said.

Adding to Codelco’s difficulties, Chile’s environmental regulator filed charges against the company over a 2016 tailings spill and river and estuary contamination at its Andina mine near the capital Santiago.

The Shanghai Futures Exchange is closed for a public holiday on Friday.

Prices of most other metals also rose, with nickel up 0.8% at $12,540 a tonne, while aluminum climbed 0.2% to $1,573 a tonne, zinc advanced 0.2% to $2,054 a tonne, and tin jumped 0.7% to $16,695 a tonne. Lone loser lead slipped 0.2% to $1,782 a tonne.

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminum

Most active ShFE aluminum

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin

ARBS (Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Barbara Lewis)

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